OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Just in: Pentagon officials may or may not have been blindsided by President Trump’s decision on Sunday to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria. It all depends on who’s talking. Or maybe who’s asking.
Reports earlier this week called it a “rogue,” move, claiming Trump completely baffled his own national security advisors. Of course, one article referred to their reliable source as “a person familiar with the U.S. government’s policy deliberations on the issue.”
Most accounts made Trump’s maverick maneuver seem like a stab in the back of our loyal Kurdish allies. Then again, most accounts were from mainstream media outlets. Go figure.
But…and this is a big but:
On Tuesday, the Pentagon issued an official statement refuting earlier reports. Apparently, top brass – Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley and other high-echelon officials – were in the loop the entire time.
According to Pentagon Chief Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman:
“Esper and Chairman Milley were consulted over the last several days by the president regarding the situation and efforts to protect U.S. forces in northern Syria in the face of military action by Turkey.”
Very interesting indeed. Why, this statement is the complete opposite of earlier reports! Is anyone else thinking someone leaked false information about the decision to withdraw to make Trump appear more impeachable? Hmmm.
So what happened to cause this withdrawal of troops in the first place? Well, Turkey is taking military action – an incursion against the Syrian Democratic Forces – which they have been repeatedly warned against. A clash with the Turks would have been inevitable. In which case, Trump is protecting U.S. forces in northern Syria…by moving them.
First and foremost and always, I am a mother. And if one of my sons was a serviceman fighting overseas, I would be grateful that the President cared enough to keep him safe, if at all possible.
And you know what else? I’m no military strategist, but the move certainly makes sense. It’s hard to clash when you can’t see each other; just ask any parent with more than one kid. Siblings at it again? Move ‘em to separate corners. In separate rooms – better yet, in separate houses. Boom. Problem solved.